Imagine Whirled Peas...

It's a well-known fact that I am no fan of vegetables. My mother accepted this fact years ago, and largely stopped trying to foist them upon me, after I would spend entire evenings at the kitchen table having staring contests with the peas that refused to disappear from my plate when I was told that I wouldn't be dismissed from the table unless I ate them. My significant other, however, craves healthy things in his diet, and has been waging an uphill battle to get me to introduce more vegetables into our shared meals. In large part, I've been trying to accommodate his tastes, and incorporating more vegetable side dishes and selecting more meals that have vegetable components.

That's why a heavily vegetable-laced chicken salad from the most recent issue of Bon Appetit caught my eye -- now that my antagonistic relationship with peas has cooled, I thought a three-pea chicken salad would make a perfect lunch for me and my vegetable-loving boyfriend. Luckily for me, I was able to pick up all two of the necessary types of peas (snow peas and sugar snap peas) for a song at H-Mart yesterday, and we had frozen peas and frozen chicken breasts on hand, so there were few barriers standing in my way.

Just because I was able to acquire all the ingredients easily did not mean that I was able to throw this together in a timely fashion. The writers at Bon Appetit classify this as a quick meal, but they are sorely mistaken. This chicken salad is a test of one's knife skills the likes of which I have never experienced before. I spent what felt like forever thinly slicing the snow and sugar snap peas and green onion into fine ribbons, along with finely mincing the garlic and shallots. Sure, it was easy to chuck everything into a bowl and stir it up once it was all prepared, but I'm not sure the dish merited all the effort.

That's not to say that it wasn't tasty. If you like vegetables, like Justin does, I'm sure you'd enjoy this chicken salad as much as he did. For me, however, there were just too many raw vegetables and too little chicken. It was fresh, crunchy, and full of bright, spring flavors, but I couldn't ignore the voice of my inner child screaming, "Eiw! Veggies!" If you have some time on your hands, and access to a farmer's market, by all means, give this recipe a spin, you'll probably enjoy it. As for me, I'll be sticking with my much-beloved chicken salad recipe, that still has some fruit and vegetables for interest, but is more heavily skewed toward the meat side of the equation.

Three-Pea Chicken Salad
adapted from Bon Appetit

2 large shallots, 1 halved, 1 minced
2 garlic cloves, 1 smashed, 1 minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound thinly sliced stringed sugar snap peas
1 cup frozen, thawed peas
1/2 cup thinly sliced stringed snow peas
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh green onion
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
Place halved shallot, smashed garlic, and chicken in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 1 inch and season with salt and pepper. Bring water to a boil; remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand until chicken is just cooked through, 15–25 minutes, depending on size of chicken breasts. Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Shred or dice chicken. 
Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, oil, minced shallot, and minced garlic in a small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Combine all peas in a medium bowl. Add chicken, dressing, parsley, green onion, lemon zest, and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice, if desired.

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